by Max Brantley
What a shock. U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin has been caught taking liberties with the truth again.
Here, factcheck.org blows up one of his favorite themes of late — that welfare deadbeats are costing the U.S. zillions with a program that provides free luxury cell phone service.
A congressman’s Web video goes too far when it portrays a program that subsidizes cell phone service for very low-income persons as a government giveaway that is costing taxpayers billions.
The truth isn't nearly so shocking. A vital program for poor people — not taxpayer funded as Griffin wants you to believe and not run by the government — has, indeed, had a fraud rate. (Find an area of human endeavor without bad actors.)
The FCC, however, overhauled the program, enacting changes that call for building databases to confirm beneficiaries’ eligibility and to identify duplicate subscriptions. The FCC also slashed 75 percent of available subsidies for the program, which eliminated a “perverse” incentive for some phone companies to enroll ineligible persons. The FCC projects its modifications will save up to $2 billion over three years. Griffin’s video ignores those measures while highlighting only the abuses.
The Lifeline program doesn't provide "free" phones, another fib Griffin tries hard to sell.
Griffin wants to end any sort of subsidized cell phone service for poor people. Let them stay home and sit by their landlines.